William Martin Murphy: correction

Published in Issue 2 (March/April 2015), Letters, Volume 23

In the article ‘William Martin Murphy: patriotic entrepreneur or “a soulless, money-grubbing tyrant”?’ (HI 21.4, July/Aug. 2013), a sidebar (‘Early life’) states that he was an ‘only child’. In fact, an older sister, Margaret, was born on 16 April 1843. On 7 January 1872 she married John Cullinane, a successful merchant in Bantry, Co. Cork. They did not have any children and John died on 11 January 1900, aged 62, leaving £14,189 14s. 1d. Probate was granted at Cork to ‘the widow Margaret Cullinane, Mary Cullinane, spinster and Benjamin O’Connor, merchant (effects in England, £500)’. Margaret Cullinane (née Murphy) maintained a close relationship with the Murphys, being listed as an ‘aunt, visitor’ in the Dartry Road, Rathmines, home of James Fitzgerald Murphy (son of William Martin) in the 1901 census of Ireland. Her occupation was given as ‘income from land and dividends’. James, a barrister, died in 1903. Margaret was then listed as ‘aunt’ in the home of Edward Martin Murphy (another son of William Martin) in the 1911 census. Margaret died in Dublin in 1936 aged 93. She was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery in the same grave as William Martin Murphy, James Fitzgerald Murphy and other members of the Murphy family. All of the above can be verified in records available on-line.—Yours etc.,

(Genealogist and great-nephew of John Cullinane)

Mr Clarke has clearly established that William Martin Murphy had a sister, Margaret, but I have recently learned also—again from a genealogist—that he had two brothers: John, b. 21 February 1847, and Charles, b. 9 February 1849. Sadly, both died young—John after fourteen months, Charles after sixteen days. The long-held assumption that William Martin was an only child was clearly incorrect, though it is likely that he was a much-cherished boy following the untimely death of his two brothers.—Yours etc.,



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